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Justice News

Department of Justice
U.S. Attorney’s Office
District of Arizona

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Man Sentenced To 35 Years In Prison For Child Pornography Offenses

TUCSON, Ariz. – On Sept. 29, 2014, Howard Wesley Cotterman, 73, of Truckee, Calif., was sentenced by Chief U.S. District Judge Raner C. Collins to serve 35 years in prison for child exploitation offenses.  Following a trial in June 2014, Cotterman was found guilty of two counts of production of child pornography, one count of transportation of child pornography, one count of possession of child pornography, and one count of importation of obscene materialCotterman’s term of imprisonment will be followed by lifetime supervised release, with stringent sex offender conditions, including the condition that he register as a sex offender.

            On June 27, 2007, Cotterman was indicted by a federal Grand Jury.  An investigation revealed that Cotterman sexually abused a young girl multiple times over a two year period, beginning when she was seven years old.  The photographs and videos memorializing the abuse were discovered on Cotterman’s laptop after he crossed the international border from Mexico into Arizona. Before his arrest, Cotterman fled to Australia, requiring that he be extradited back to the United States for prosecution.

            Cotterman was convicted in 1992 in California of thirty-three offenses, which included two counts of use of a minor in sexual conduct, two counts of lewd and lascivious conduct upon a child, and three counts of annoy/molest a child. 

This case was brought as part of Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative to combat the growing epidemic of child sexual exploitation and abuse launched in May 2006 by the Department of Justice.  Led by United States Attorneys’ Offices and the Criminal Division’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state, and local resources to better locate, apprehend and prosecute individuals who exploit children via the internet, as well as to identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov.

 The investigation in this case was conducted by Homeland Security Investigations, Tucson.  The prosecution was handled by Carin C. Duryee and Carmen F. Corbin, District of Arizona, Tucson.

CASE NUMBER:           CR-07-01207-TUC-RCC  
RELEASE NUMBER:   2014-055_Cotterman

Updated January 7, 2015